Marriott International announced this week that it has established a new brand called The Autograph Collection. They are touting the big brand benefits to independent properties who will be marketed to Marriott’s large customer database.
Independent hotel owners are being sought by other big brands as well including Choice (the Ascend Collection) and others. What owners must think about from both sides of the coin are the benefits vs. the strict standards that may come down the road from the big brands. These restrictions could squash future creativity and independence. The Association will be keeping a close eye on this new trend which looks more like a ‘take advantage of a down economy’ than a real benefit. Feels similar to 911 when the OTA’s took a huge share of hotel profits. Something to ponder.
One thing for certain ….. boutique & lifestyle hotels have a ton of options available to them and the opportunity to grow their customer base is NOW!